StepChange Debt Charity Tribunals Leeds – StepChange Debt Charity v Matthew Cooper

The Insider view on tribunals against StepChange

*Update* 10/04/2019

Hi guys,

Sorry for the radio silence – I’ve been really busy.

Results of the tribunal will be published on the .Gov tribunals services website in a few weeks.

The tribunal was a great chance to have ‘my say’ and wasn’t intimidating or complicated at all.

My case wasn’t successful, I didn’t expect it to be, but you’ll all soon be able to read (hopefully in as much detail as possible) what all the fuss was about.

Thanks for all the messages and kind words etc.

Mat x


Hi and welcome to this special page on my website which is exclusively devoted to my former employer StepChange Debt Charity, and my employment tribunal against them which is due to be heard at the HM Courts and Tribunal Service in Leeds on 8 April 2019 (Case Number: 1811551/2018).

As the full decision in my case will be publicly published by the Tribunal Service (like this case Mr K Power v StepChange Debt Charity – published on and my case will come into the public domain I’m hoping to use this page to allow former colleagues to give feedback and add comment.

Colleague feedback online at the moment is devoted to employment review websites like Glassdoor – where StepChange has a current rating of 2.5 out of 5 and many of the negative reviews also sadly, reflect my recent experience within the charity.

I worked for StepChange Debt Charity on two occasions between 2008 and 2014 and then again between 2015 and 2018.  I worked as a drafter of individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) and in the marketing team/social media team as well as in Internal Communication for the charity.

I was part of the team that developed the MoneyAware blog and was involved in the creation and launch of Debt Awareness Week in 2014 (I can be seen on the launch video at 0.44 and 0.48).

StepChange like many organisations is going through a period of transition and transformation which has meant redundancies and reorganisation within the charity, with many highly trained and committed colleagues leaving the charity, or being made redundant.

As a member of Unite Union – (details on how to join Unite can be found here) when I did have an issue with StepChange as an employer, I followed the correct process and raised an internal grievance with the charity and followed the process as set out in the grievance policy – this was a long and exhausting process which took two months and only on April 8 2019 will I be in court (I raised the Grievance back in July 2018).

This long process puts many colleagues off raising a grievance and following it through to court. I’m hoping to use this page to encourage colleagues to raise a grievance and follow this through when they have genuine issues with the charity as an employer.

I’m also hoping that by recording and publishing details of my own case that I can dispel myths about how to raise a grievance, how to take this to a tribunal. I’ll also look at the importance of unions, how ACAS helps employees who wish to go to tribunal and I’ll also look at the nitty-gritty details of what to expect from an Employment Tribunal.

This page will allow former colleagues and friends to comment on my case, and their feelings about the charity as an employer generally. I’m hoping for readers to generate as much content as I do (The comment facility will be turned on closer to the time of the tribunal).

Comments will be moderated by me (In-between my two stints at StepChange I worked for online reputation company Igniyte and I’m fully trained on the law around online comments and content and what can and cannot be published online). I’m also pretty good at optimising content for SEO purposes, and I expect significant amounts of online traffic to this page from former colleagues and friends.

Like the previously mentioned Debt Awareness Week I intend to live blog on the week of the tribunal and I’ll be sharing this content across social media with a specific focus on LinkedIn and Twitter.  You can find links to my social profiles on this website.

I’ll also be publishing a list of documents pertaining to the case on this website.  I can be contacted on for media enquiries or general chats.  You can also leave a comment below (once comments are activated).

**Update**  Here’s a quick screenshot from Google Analytics as of 11/02/2019. You’re the reason this page is so popular…

As per the image below you can clearly see that the page dedicated to my tribunal is proving very popular.  With altogether 319 unique page views –  that’s 319 individual people looking at the page (264 + 55) and 462 page views altogether as of today.  You can also see that people are very interested in what’s on the page with the average page view time between 4.08 minutes and (on the link below which is being shared socially) 7.25 minutes.

Thanks again for all the messages of support and remember that details on how to join Unite can be found here.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire  and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour

His directorial debut Markham will be released in 2019.

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